Any food that poses a safety hazard to consumers is removed from sale, distribution and consumption. This is called a 'food recall'.
When is food recalled?
Food is recalled when it poses a possible public health and safety risk to consumers.
A product may be withdrawn from sale for 2 reasons:
- The product has a quality defect (eg. colour or texture), is underweight, or has labelling irregularities but does not pose a potential risk to public health and safety.
- As a precaution, stock may be withdrawn from distribution and/or sale pending further investigation - if a risk to public health and safety is established, the product must be recalled.
Who is responsible for recalling a food product?
Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) nationally coordinates the recall of foods that pose a health and safety risk to consumers. The NSW Food Authority coordinates food recalls within NSW. The Food Authority has the power to mandate a food recall if required.
Most food recalls are voluntarily initiated by businesses when food production monitoring has identified a fault or in response to public complaints. The Food Authority may initiate food recalls following the investigation of reported foodborne illness incidents or complaints about the safety of food.
Should a concern be serious enough to warrant a food recall, the Food Authority’s Recall Coordinator will work with the manufacturer to ensure the recall is effectively conducted and will coordinate the recall with other state and local authorities to prevent the food being distributed and sold.
Current food recalls
Details of recent national consumer level food recalls for products available:
- In NSW can be found on the Food Authority's list
- Australia-wide, can be found on the FSANZ Food Recall page.
The FSANZ recall page also provides contact information for all state and territory recall coordinators.